be tolerated, nor in Britain, nor at leastrnfor Reform and Conservative Judaisms inrnthe United States and Canada. Here thernRabbinate enjoys sufficient respect to establishrnorder, and except for some ratherrndegraded Orthodox synagogues that lackrnall self-respect and decorum, the behaviorrncommonplace in European synagoguesrnat the hour of prayer is simply astounding.rnIt is repulsive and anti-Judaic.rnWhere do people learn such incivility?rnIt stems from what they have never seen,rnwhich is piety in practice. To this theyrnare tone-deaf and utterly dumb. I recallrnseeing similar behavior in Providence,rnRhode Island, some years ago; guests at arnbar mitzvah turning the entire worshiprnservice of a Reform Temple into a photornopportunity, walking up and down thernaisles, greeting one another and takingrnphotographs through the service, standingrnalong the sides and on chairs for betterrnshots, and, in all, behaving like barbarians.rnAt the time I asked myself,rn”Where did these people, so totally indifferentrnto the circumstance of addressingrnGod, come from?” The answer was,rnthey all came from Russia. These werernamong the earliest Russian Jews to comernto the United States; they simply hadrnnever attended a synagogue before.rnThey did not know what happens there,rnand they did not believe anything does.rnThey did not know how to behave properly,rnand they did not observe the conductrnof others.rnIn Prague, too, the Jews I observed atrnthe service I attended simply had no idearnof what was going on, though mattersrnwere presented deftly and charmingly byrnan American rabbi of enormous gifts,rnArnold Turetsky of White Plains. A manrnsitting next to me looked simply out ofrnplace and miserable. I got him a copy ofrnthe scroll of Esther in Hebrew, showedrnhim the spot, with no response; then Irndid the same (as best I could) in Czechrntranslation, still nothing. He glanced atrnneither. He just sat there looking uncomfortable,rnuntil he left in the first ofrnseveral mass exoduses. I wondered whyrnhe came only to walk out without participating.rnWhen I asked the rabbi to explainrnthe mentality that animates thatrnkind of behavior, he had no answer; it isrnsomething he had never seen in WhiternPlains. I asked the synagogue president,rnan American in law practice in Prague,rnwhat he thought; he had no answer.rnBut I think I know the answer. NazirnGermany destroyed lives, Soviet communismrndestroyed souls. The Germansrnbefore and during World War II destroyedrnmillions of lives. The greatestrnbody of faithful Jews in the world died inrnthe holocaust. The massive system ofrnschools, with their teachers and students,rnmainly perished (a few were able to escapernand reconstruct themselves in thernUnited States or in Israel). The thousandsrnof synagogues, with their millionsrnof worshipers for Sabbaths and festivalsrnand weekdays, were destroyed by thernGermans or closed by the Russians. Therncommunists destroyed the souls of thernsurvivors within their power. The survivorsrnwho could escape in the mainrnturned their backs on Europe, findingrnrefuge and hope in Israel, America, andrnelsewhere.rnThose who survived in Russia,rnCzechoslovakia, and other parts of thernSoviet Empire found themselves cut offrnfrom the religion, Judaism. Not onlyrnhave they endured three generations ofrnatheist teaching, but 70 years of isolationrnfrom the practice of Judaism. They hadrnfew synagogues, and attending worshiprncould cost a career or worse; they had nornschools; they lost such models of pietyrnand faith as had survived the Bolshevikrncatastrophe. A Jewish community thatrndoes not educate its own rabbis cannotrnendure—and should not.rnWhen a revival of Jewish life began inrnthe I970’s, it took the form of the studyrnof the Hebrew language and the affirmationrnof Zionism: “Free Soviet Jewry”rnmeant “Let them go.” But the religion,rnJudaism, cannot speak through slogansrnor be realized through political action.rnWe who practice Judaism—study thernTorah, say our prayers, keep the Commandmentsrn—do not attend rallies andrnsign petitions; we offer prayers and petitionrnGod. Judaism—which calls itselfrnthe Torah—speaks of matters other thanrnthe political and the ethnic. It talks ofrnGod wanting our love and His giving ofrnthe Torah to purify our hearts. It speaksrnof a holy people, a pilgrim people, makingrntheir way through time to God’srnplanned destiny for them. It demands arnway of life that sanctifies the everyday, arnworldview that endows happenstancernwith meaning and event with thernpromise of salvation. Of none of this didrnJews under communism know. Andrnnow, so it appears, it is too late to learn;rnthe great chain of tradition is broken.rnWhere the tradition flourishes—inrnBritain, France, the United States, andrnIsrael—the orphans of communism canrnobserve and find a place for themselves.rnBut in places like Prague, prayer withoutrnsoul and learning without commitmentrnyield a farce, a charade, an offensernagainst Heaven. God is not fooled.rnJacob Neusner is Distinguished ResearchrnProfessor ofReUgious Studies at the Universityrnof South Florida and a professor ofrnreUgion at Bard College.rnLetter FromrnLimarnby Steven GreenhutrnHUD Strikes AgainrnIt may not be the start of the Great MiddlernAmerican Revolution, but the reactionrnof residents in Lima, Ohio, to arnheavy-handed public housing plan showsrnthat some Americans are still willing tornstand up for their communities. A decliningrnindustrial city of 45,000, Limarnhas seen its share of hard times in recentrnyears. In the city’s south side are hundredsrnof acres of rotting industrial hulksrnwhere steel was forged and locomotivesrnwere built. Lima has lost several thousandrnjobs in the past few years, and nowrnBritish Petroleum has announced thernclosing of its refinery, which employs 470rnworkers.rnTo add insult to injury, the county’srnMetropolitan Housing Authority (anrnagency funded by the Department ofrnHousing and Urban Development) hasrnannounced plans to build 28 new housingrnunits throughout Lima’s dwindlingrnmiddle- and working-class neighborhoods.rnThe last time Met Housing, as itrnis unaffectionately called, did its handiwork,rnit built scores of ranch houses thatrnhave the architectural finesse of bombrnshelters. They were plopped like brickrnelephants in some of Lima’s finest olderrnneighborhoods.rnCombined with its inept managementrnof the federal Section 8 program,rnwhich subsidizes low-income tenants inrnprivately owned homes. Met Housingrnhas turned many stable, well-kept neighborhoodsrninto enclaves of run-downrnrental housing. It is no surprise thatrnAUGUST 1997/37rnrnrn